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Veteran columnist Barbara 'Tweetums' Gonzalez-Ventura passes away at 79

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published May 29, 2024 7:36 pm Updated May 30, 2024 8:20 am

Columnist Barbara Gonzalez-Ventura has passed away at the age of 79.

Her family announced that she died on May 28 through her Facebook account, calling her a "creative, lover, friend, mentor, grandmother, wife, and mom."

"We invite you to let the sound of her famous laughter guide you, as you celebrate her life in your own way. May all your good wishes light up the sky for this remarkable and beloved woman we were privileged to call Mom and Nannie," Barbara's family stated.

Barbara, who had the nickname "Tweetums," served as the writer for The Philippine STAR Sunday column "From My Heart." Here, she shared some of her poignant experiences throughout her life such as the lessons she learned from undergoing surgery, the sorrows she feels from being a widow, and more.

She was a published writer, having written the advice book How Do You Know Your Pearls Are Real? On Single Parenthood and Other Ms. Adventures, which provides "rich and poignant insights" valuable to those struggling with single parenthood. 

She was given the National Book Award by the Manila Critics Circle in 1991.

With her vast knowledge and life experience, Barbara also pursued teaching and became a member of the Sunshine Place, a senior recreation center that offers enriching programs for seniors, where she led writing workshops.

In their message to Barbara after her passing, Sunshine Paradise stated that her last class was held in March earlier this year and focused on memoir writing.

"Her words, like seeds, inspired countless students to find their own voices in writing. With her charming dimpled smile and hearty laughter, she formed deep and lasting friendships with our members, joining them in dance and yoga classes," the center wrote.

"Though she is no longer with us, her spirit and legacy will forever live on in our hearts and memories. Rest in peace, Tweetums. You will always be remembered as someone who made Sunshine Place a happy place," they added.

She entered the advertising industry and became president of J. Romero & Associates, vice president at McCann Erickson, and vice president of Coca-Cola, which she regarded as her "proudest work."

Throughout her time, Barbara has also amassed a collection of portraits of herself that were made by renowned Filipino artists, such as Federico Aguilar Alcuaz, Emilio Aguilar Cruz, Isabel Diaz-Marcial, and Julie Lluch.

She has since been parting ways with her valuable paintings by selling them in auctions.

Barbara shared her reasons for doing so in her column published in The STAR: "It is time for me to further simplify my life. I want to clear it of all the pictures of the past. I think it is time to live in the present, in the now, to be aware that tomorrow may not come, to be profoundly grateful for the past no matter how difficult, to be grateful that I have survived."

"What do I hope for? That one day when I am completely wrinkled and indecipherable, someone talking to his granddaughter will say, 'Really, you read Barbara Gonzalez’s autobiography? You like it? Look at this painting. That’s the way she looked when she was young.' For a few moments I will come alive in her or his memory. Someone, somehow, somewhere will remember me for an instant," she continued.

Barbara is survived by her children and their partners: Risa and Brayton, Sarri and Richard, Panjee, Gino and Faye; her grandchildren and their partners: Paolo and Claudine, Niccolo, Natalia, Mikel, Julian, Santiago and Gabby, Andres, Maxine and Bailey; and her great grandchild Tristan.